Dakar: Casale opens quads title defense with win; Stacey triumphs in trucks (VIDEO)

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Ignacio Casale (pictured), the 2014 Dakar Rally winner in the quads, picked up right where he left off in Sunday’s opening 175km stage of the 2015 edition.

The Chilean rider has already built up a lead of one minute, seven seconds over Poland’s Rafal Sonik, the man he defeated for the top prize twelve months ago.

Uruguay’s Sergio Lafuente is an additional 16 seconds back of Sonik in third position following Stage 1.

“The stage was great and very fast,” Casale said. “I think I did a good stage. I was at ease, although I would’ve liked the quad to attain a higher peak speed, but we’ll see to that.

“I had to ease up a bit towards the end to preserve the clutch…The race starts now and I’m looking forward to giving it my all.”

Another Uruguayan, Mauro Almeida, is currently fourth (+2:41) and Qatar’s Mohammed Abu-Issa runs fifth at a shade over three minutes behind the defending quads champ.

A strong battle for top honors in the trucks went to Iveco’s Hans Stacey, who sits atop the category by a margin of 35 seconds over MAN’s Marcel Van Vliet. Van Vliet had been leading through the first two checkpoints of the stage.

Another MAN driver, Ales Loprais, finished third in the stage and is 47 seconds behind.

This year’s Dakar is important for Stacey, a former overall winner who is coming off a retirement in 2013 and a subpar seventh-place finish in 2014.

“I’m over the moon, I’d marked this stage down,” he said on Sunday. “I was driving in Loprais’ wake, but we did a good job. I’ve had problems two years in a row, but this time round everything’s on track and I feel very strong. Mentally too. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but everything’s in place.

“To win this race, all the stars need to be aligned. I believe everything’s ready and organized for me to win. So we’ll try to keep it up…”

Defending truck champion Andrey Karginov of the KAMAZ team did not have a good start to his title defense, coming to the end in 11th position, three minute and 16 seconds back of Stacey.

Coverage of the 2015 Dakar Rally starts Monday afternoon on NBCSN. Get your full Dakar TV schedule here.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.